Season: Mid-April to the end of June, depending on the weather
I have now almost completely given up making things with asparagus, because apart from the very thin sprue, which I like to chop and put in Eggs en Cocotte I think asparagus is best eaten as it is, hot with foaming, melted butter or hollandaise sauce poured over, or warm or cold with a good vinaigrette. Or click here to watch how to make Basic Vinaigrette in our Cookery School Video
To cook asparagus, take each stalk in both hands and bend and snap off the woody end, then trim the ends with a knife to make them neater. Lay the asparagus stalks on an opened fan steamer (or an ordinary steamer will do), they can be piled one on top of the other. Then place the steamer in a frying pan or saucepan, pour in about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of boiling water from the kettle, then season with salt, put a lid on and steam for 5-6 minutes, or until they feel tender when tested with a skewer.
Serve the asparagus on hot plates with some sauce poured over the tips. Pick them up with your hands and eat down to the tough ends, dipping in the sauce after each bite. Also, don’t forget to have finger bowls and napkins at the ready. 1 lb 4 oz (570 g) of asparagus will serve 4 as a starter.
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